As the organisers of the 2021 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon take stock of another successful hosting of the country’s premier river marathon, paddlers taking the annual post-race survey have highlighted some important positives, in particular the progress being made in dealing with the water quality.
Given the unprecedented nature of hosting a race during a pandemic; the organisers where happy that the entry peaked at just over 780 paddlers for the iconic event between Pietermaritzburg and Durban, an increase on the entry year-on-year.
From a serious concern in 2019 when close on 80 percent of the participants got sick with the infamous Dusi Guts, the 2021 race saw a continuation of the encouraging reversal of that trend seen in 2020 as over 71% of the respondents completed the race without contracting any illness.
The results of the survey showed that just under 20% of the respondents said they contracted mild Dusi Guts while only 5% suffered severe Dusi Guts. Dusi Guts is caused by a reaction to E.coli pollution in the river.
In the last two seasons the KwaZulu-Natal Canoe Club and the Dusi sponsors MyLife have been working with the Dusi uMngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) to identify and remedy the sewer problems around Pietermaritzburg that were identified as the sources of the E.coli pollution in the uMsundusi River.
From a security perspective around 60% of the survey respondents said that they felt safe throughout the race with security and safety personnel in the correct places while 34% believed that the security was fine but wanted more river safety in certain areas.
Another notable positive from the post-race survey was the addition of the SportsSplits App. This helped spectators, who couldn’t be at the event, to follow paddlers throughout the event.
Nearly 79% of the over 270 survey respondents believed that it was a welcome addition to the race.
The 2021 edition of the Dusi was a difficult event to host given the influence of the covid-19 pandemic, however through the survey there was an overwhelmingly positive response to the race, sponsors and organisers for their efforts.
“While we are very happy with the outcome of the 2021 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon, this survey is absolutely essential to enabling us to build on the positives and respond constructively to every single criticism,” said race committee head Shane le Breton.
“The survey provides important stats, but even more useful to us are the thousands of comments and details provided in the survey, that give us clear areas to work on ahead of the 2022 race,” he added.